ARC Review: Unexpected Goals by Kelly Farmer

On-ice rivals find some surprising heat under all their hostility in this enemies-to-lovers hockey romance

Unexpected Goals: A WLW Hockey Romance

Photo from NetGalley

If you can’t play nice, play hockey

Canadian goalie Maisy Goode is wary of American Jen Donato and her dirty playing. She’s been on the receiving end of Jen’s aggressive style and doesn’t like it one bit. Now that they’re on the same women’s pro team, keeping her eyes off Jen is a struggle.

Jen signed up to win it all with the Boston Ice. Her very public clashes with their hot goalie aren’t going to derail her championship plans. Jen’s a professional. But there’s just something about Maisy that gets under her skin.

The media loves the tension, but the more time Maisy and Jen are forced to spend together, the more they discover what’s between them isn’t entirely hostile.

At all.

Banter turns into flirting, and flirting turns into more. The closer they get to the playoffs, the more pressure weighs on the team—and the couple. Maisy needs Jen’s support. Jen needs to know Maisy’s all in. And it all needs to get sorted out before the season—and their relationship—closes out.13 

My thoughts

Jenny and I are a lot alike as I do not like drama with my romance (laugh). I really enjoyed Unexpected Goals. There is some drama but Kelly Farmer keeps it to a low key level which I appreciate.

I think what I appreciate the most about Farmer’s books is the variety of people. Jenny is not as involved as Amy is in the rainbow community, but within the hockey team itself there are a variety of humans who come from different countries, experiences, and with a common goal of playing a sport to the best of their ability. There is even the distasteful Renata who is all about the sport and you have to admire that even if you don’t agree with how she showcases her ambition. No one says that she isn’t a beast on the ice.

Farmer groups these athletes together and makes it work…even for enemies which is what Unexpected Goals is all about. I actually get both sides of the argument in which these two have battled since the Olympics. I also understand the desire to just move past an issue, but no one else is able to. Farmer has such a great handle on a delicate issue in society and applying it to such an important issue in sports.

As I am writing this I was about to say that I cannot relate to the label story and the strong need to pin one on me, but that is not exactly right. I have been going through a process myself, but not for others to know, but for me to know. I have never been one for labels as “queer” has always worked for me, so the struggle to have to have an answer before telling anyone I cannot relate to…but then I don’t have a coming out story either. Farmer makes a point in the story about Maisy now being part of this huge community now that she is a rainbow and that is not true for me either, so if you feel alone in this rainbow…(smile) you are not alone. For me, this part of this story really does seem like fiction.

Now as for everything else that is Maisy, oh my gosh, I just started logging my macros and holy sugar I praise Maisy. I could have told Jenny it was love when she started thinking about doing it too. It takes love to count macros. Maisy is all about facts, figures, and safety. Who does not love that? Then add in that she is a vegan and you have perfection. Never mind that when Farmer had her do her stretching routine, I was just as hooked as Jenny.

As for Jenny, she is the perfect lesbian. I do not know what stereotype lesbian book she has been reading, but she can date me. I love flowers and candy. Light some candles for me please. Make me coffee every morning (now that had about every woman sit up and say “yes please” didn’t it?). Jenny is chill and goes with the flow. She speaks Italian and Spanish. She cooks. Her family is loud, boisterous, and filled with love. Did I mention she is artistic?

Farmer has created two women that anyone could easily fall for never mind an enemy. Unexpected Goals has feisty athletes, abuelas, and visits from previous characters. This is a feel good sports romance that makes you want to date at least one of them if not both ladies. Thank you Farmer, I needed this.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” at no additional cost to you.

Further Details:

Publisher: Carina Press, 9780369713520, 2 November 2021

Series: Out On the Ice #2

Settings: Boston, MA, U.S.

Words: 88,000

SC: ACE, Aro, Lesbian, Bi, Spanish


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